Your Social Media Strategy will provide the framework for you to develop plans and tactics for you and/or your team. Whether you're part of a marketing team or doing things for your own business here's some actionable strategies you can apply.
Remember progress is better than perfection.
Set SMART Goals
This can be tricky if you're new to Social Media.
Check the traffic you get to your website from Social Media (in Google Analytics this is under Acquisition > Overview). Then count how many Social Media Posts you're making to each channel. If you're doing a standing start, like we all do at the beginning, then it's easy to quickly double your traffic. If you have a bit of momentum this make take longer.
SMART Goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely so your goal could be:
Increase traffic to the website, from Twitter, from 20 visits per month to 40 visits per month by the end of September 2016.
If you're already getting traffic on Twitter then another 20 visits may be trivial, so add the appropriate number of zeros.
Now you know what you want to achieve how do we do that?
Create Marketing Personas
A Persona, or Avatar, is a fictional character that represents your Target Market. Creating a Persona helps your team define your target market so they are easy to visualise, making it easier for you to communicate with them.
Once you have your Persona you can print them out and pin them up next to your work area. When you’re writing a Social Media Post you can keep them in mind so you communicate directly with them. Your designer will also want a copy so they can create the images for them – your target customer – not you!
You can create more than one Persona – we recommend you create 3 to start – you can create more later if you want to (one for each service you offer?). You can even create a negative persona – you know those customers you had in the past that you want to avoid. Read more about Personas.
Check out your Competition
You know who your competitors are, look at their website, their Social Media Profiles, and ask:
- How active are they?
- How engaged are they?
- How fast do they respond?
- What can you do better?
To do a thorough job you can create a spreadsheet so you can compare each Social Media Network with Posts, Likes, Shares, Comments, etc.. Remember it's not all about the numbers. What content is getting the most engagement, does that content fit with your Personas?
"There's no such thing as cheating once you leave school" -Mike Eastwood
Treat this as Market Research only, you still need to create original content. Stealing their content will damage your brand and on Social Media the impact will be fast and unforgiving.
Choose Your Channel
Based on your Personas you'll have a good idea about where your target market spends their time. If you're B2B (business to business) then LinkedIn is probably going to work well for you. B2C (business to customer) then Facebook is probably better. If your audience is younger then Facebook probably isn't the right Social Network. Whether you're B2B, B2C or both you're still P2P (person to person) people buy from people not businesses (unless you're an mega brand).
We recommend picking one Social media Network and focussing on that channel before you move to others. Once you learn the subtleties of that network then you can try other channels.
Create Your Content
This is the fun part where you get to apply all your research. Your Social Media Strategy should be aligned to your overall Content Marketing Strategy. For example, a great use of Social Media is to drive traffic to your content offer:
- Tweet to promote a blog post
- Blog post has a Call-To-Action
- Call-To-Action promotes an eBook (visitor exchanges email address to download eBook)
- The eBook promotes more engagement with links to more content.
Therefore, it's important to remember that your Social Media content is promoting your content, not your product; in other words pre-sell not sell.
The level of "sell" will be determined by where they are in the Buyer's Journey.
If they're in the Awareness Stage your content should be focussing on education and awareness so you can build a relationship. Later in the Buyer's Journey you can start to draw comparisons between your solution and other competitors. Do this too soon and you risk alienating your audience.
Test and Measure
Claude C. Hopkins, back in the day, used to experiment with different advertising copy by making unique coupons in the newspaper, so they could measure which ad performed the best. Fast forward to now and we can measure in real time what's performing and what's not with Analytics.
Regularly analysing your results means you can adjust your Social Media Strategy, and Social Media Plan so you can do more of what's working.